3 Ways Gen Z is Changing the Meetings & Events Industry in 2024

3 Ways Gen Z is Changing the Meetings & Events Industry in 2024

I’ve been speaking (and posting) about Gen Z for a long time and continue to be fascinated with their habits, especially their obsession with the 90’s style – that one I will never quite understand. These kiddos continue to have a limitless impact on literally everything, and the target of understanding them seems to always be moving. However, I believe that as meetings and events (and travel) are bouncing back after the pandemic, there are a few ways we can adapt to their desires.

1. Build Towards Hybrid & Virtual Experiences

The traditional 4-wall event boundaries have been obliterated thanks to new technology and hybrid and virtual events forced by the pandemic. Gen Z can now expect that events blend physical and online participation as their inherent comfort with technology has driven a significant shift towards making events more accessible, inclusive, and globally connected. That means Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are being increasingly utilized by event producers to create immersive environments, allowing attendees to engage from anywhere in the world.

2. Emphasis on Authenticity and Social Responsibility

Gen Z seeks genuine connections and experiences, pushing event organizers to prioritize authenticity in the way the event looks, feels, and is communicated (BizBash has a great article on how to bring authenticity to an event). Also, Gen Z is very committed to social causes which is influencing events to incorporate sustainability practices, diversity, and inclusivity wherever they can. They are after all the most diverse generation ever and have expectations of your event mirroring who they are at their core.

3. Influence of Social Media and Influencer Culture

The power of social media over Gen Z has forever changed the way events are marketed and experienced. Events are increasingly using social media geared toward the younger generations (i.e. TikTok) to amplify their reach and make events more interactive. Also, the rise of influencer culture has become a powerful tool. If events can engage with social media influencers in the right way, it will not only promote the event but lead to that desired authenticity mentioned in point 2.

The Sum

Gen Z is driving some serious transformative changes in the meetings and events industry.  Though technology and digital seem to be at the core, they are after all only human and desire a more meaningful and educational experience when attending your next event. The bar may seem high, however, the most minor tweaks will knock it out of the park for this generation.

Your 2024 Marketing Starting Lineup

Your 2024 Marketing Starting Lineup

2023 was a spectacular year for marketing podcasts! All my friends at Marketing Podcast Network absolutely crushed it. And for my little show, the Marketing Starter Podcast, well, we had a pretty darn good year. We got some big bumps in listenership and hosted 21 world-class guests! I wrapped up the year with a fantastic episode on customer experience with Dan Gingiss, aka The Experience Maker, but there were many other great marketing minds that I got to sit down with throughout the year.

It all started with my good friend and founder of CMO Huddles, Drew Neisser, where we talked about Selling (Marketing) through service. Soon after, I got to hang out with Robin Daniels and talk about how to remove the tension between brand building and delivering results. Then I met with Kent Lewis, Hema Thanki, Karla Jo Helms ★, and Ethan Beute, MBA, to name a few more. Every guest had a unique take on starter marketing that formed from their unique backgrounds and work styles. From product marketers to public relations leaders, chief marketing officers to chief evangelists, we put pins all over the map!

2024 is bound to be even better. Today I’m kicking off season 4 this week with my first guest of the new season, Bryan Law, CMO of ZoomInfo. We dug deep into how being distinctive is more valuable than being different – a great tip for marketing starters kicking off the new year.

Be on the lookout for interviews with Ali Hanyaloglu, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe, Steven MacDonald,  Oliver JP Osborne, and more in 2024!

Have a listen and tune in twice a month at tnhines.com/podcast or on your favorite platform.


3 Considerations For Marketers When Chasing AI

3 Considerations For Marketers When Chasing AI

By now, every marketer is aware of AI, as it’s the hottest issue in marketing since email marketing debuted nearly 40 years ago, and everyone has been talking about it in depth this year. Most of the content out there to date has been focused on getting the world up to speed on all the interesting tools that marketers have at their disposal and how to use them to ease marketing efforts.

But the question is, just because AI is the shiny new toy for marketers to play with, should you? My quick take is, yes, why not, as long as you dont use a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. In this article, I want to call attention to a few things to consider before you jump into AI head first.

1. Brand & Tone

Let’s be honest, robots sound like robots and if you copy and paste from Chat GPT, your customers will sniff it out. AI is fantastic at writing information based on what it learns about your business, but it doesn’t understand your brand’s complete uniqueness, yet. Human oversight is essential, as AI algorithms lack the contextual understanding required for more complex brand communication. It can however discern patterns and nuances that define a brand’s voice by analyzing vast volumes of consumer interactions and content that already exists about your business.

2. Confidentiality & Privacy

AI-powered analytics let you process vast amounts of consumer data, so you can tailor marketing campaigns. However, this capability raises concerns about the confidentiality of personal medical information — if it’s a concern for your customer, then it should be a concern for you. As AI delves deep into consumer behaviors and preferences, there’s an inherent risk of mishandling sensitive data, potentially leading to breaches of confidentiality and privacy. Striking the right balance between utilizing AI’s insights and safeguarding customer information has become paramount.

3. Differentiation

Back to my brand voice point above… If you just copy and paste what AI creates for you, then how will you maintain differentiation and a competitive edge? You have to be intent and specific in the way that you use AI and make sure that you aren’t doing the same thing that every other business is doing. Through data-driven insights, AI can distill invaluable information about consumer preferences, behaviors, and trends, allowing marketers to craft more targeted and relevant offerings. The key here is never forgetting who you are as a brand and what you believe in and keep it unique.

The Sum

From personalized customer experiences to enhanced engagement, and data-driven insights to predictive analytics, AI is redefining how marketers connect with their audience and operate within their landscapes. The integration of AI not only improves marketing operational efficiency but also enables marketers to provide more personalization and stand out from the competition. Ultimately, AI empowers marketers to embody innovation, customer centricity, and adaptability and ultimately helps them be more human in their approach to marketing.

This post was originally posted in partnership with PCCA on their blog in a pharmacy marketing format.

5 Tips to Survive the Post-Digital Age

5 Tips to Survive the Post-Digital Age

Some of us may be old enough to remember when the interstate freeways in the U.S. were built and transported people across the country in a matter of days and created the infamous suburban flight. And it wasn’t long before advertisers saw the benefit of erecting 50-foot tall banners to display their messages to commuters. Today, these billboards have become not much more than an aging distraction.

Here’s a news flash… our digital advertising is going the way of the freeway billboard.

In the new post-digital world, digital is now the boring normal and B2B marketers must find new ways to stand out to their audiences. Marketers need to immediately halt recycling their digital methods that numb potential buyers into a slow digital death. Post-digital marketers can mix up their strategies to reach buyers where and how they want, with the right message to win new business.

Here are my 5 tips to consider when working toward implementing your post-digital strategy:

  1. Don’t be selfish – It’s so easy to market yourself, but it’s not as easy to market a solution. We must not get caught up with glorifying our brand and focus on what the customers’ needs are and try to reach them where and how they want to be reached. I can tell you right now that it’s not through pop up ads!
  2. Creatively stand out – To avoid the billboard effect, we need to find new ways to stand out. We can supplement our digital with more content, conversational selling, account-based marketing, engaging influencers, or even hyper-personalization with hand-written notes. What is old can be new again!
  3. Deliver massive value – Customer expectations are at an all-time high and we must strive to meet them constantly (billboards won’t do it). Luckily it is easier than ever to listen to customers and understand what they want. Leverage the wealth of behavioral data from customers and prospects to better understand them and market with more value.
  4. Don’t expect purchases on first click – This should go without saying and could have been easily lumped in with the being selfish point, but just because you have a great campaign doesn’t mean someone will buy. Listen up sales people! Marketing is a journey of building trust and nurturing prospects before they buy – which is becoming more and more common in B2B. We need to reach them with multiple touch points like in point 2.
  5. Cultivate a user (human) experience – In the book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark Shaefer, he teaches that marketers who behave the most human will build the deepest and longest-lasting connections with their audiences. So, we must think like humans, not products or services, to connect with humans to ultimately make a sale.

I recently gave a talk on this very subject at the Product & Growth Summit this past September, where I covered what marketers can do to step up their game. I also went a little deeper into the concept of post-digital – you can watch the talk here ?

Get the slides here ? https://www.tnhines.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Post-Digital-Marketing-Trends-Presentation-Tim-Hines.pdf 

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3 Reasons to Say YES to Virtual Events

3 Reasons to Say YES to Virtual Events

Like all speakers over the past 18 months, I have seen my speaking career deflate like a helium balloon two days after a 10-year-old’s birthday party. The pandemic response has all but wiped out the live events industry, forcing resourceful groups to hack their way through creating virtual meetings and conferences, thus limiting the volume and scope of engagements for speakers.

If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would have attended all-day virtual conferences and spoken to large groups while sitting in my home office wearing workout shorts — and that this would become a cross-industry norm — I would have said ‘HELL NAW!’

Alas, this is the world we live in now. The good news is, live events are picking back up and even amidst this new Delta surge, in-person events are visible on the horizon.

I have attended and participated in a few virtual conferences and while they are lackluster compared to their in-person counterparts (Zoom fatigue is real), they are a great place to sharpen your speaking skills and practice your material. Think of how a stand-up comic will hit up an open mic or two to try out new material between tours. Even the greats stop by for random late night, unpaid bits at the Comedy Cellar.

I’ve got a few reasons why you should say YES to virtual speaking gigs until we’re back to normal.

  1. Keeps You Sharp – Just like how your muscles will atrophy after skipping the gym for six months, so will your speaking skills. Certainly there’s no better way to fine tune your delivery than the adrenaline-pumping experience of dominating a stage in front of hundreds of attendees, but that’s just not a reality right now. So, instead of hanging up your dancing, I mean speaking, shoes, get your practice in at virtual events. You can still create great content and honestly, it’s an even bigger challenge to keep someone’s attention online vs. in a ballroom for 45 minutes. There are just so many distractions at home.
  2. Keeps you consistent – Just like a job seeker, a speaker shouldn’t have huge gaps of time with no activity. Granted, event planners and content curators will completely understand this 2020-21 gap or lull that all speakers will have in their resume, but wouldn’t it be great to have a slight edge over the competition? So even if your engagements are virtual, it’s good to have that engagement listed in your timeline even if the footnote is that the event was 100% online.
  3. Keeps you relevant – Every pro knows that this speaking thing is a bit of a popularity contest. And the most popular speakers win. When you keep up your appearances, even when virtual, it helps to keep you top of mind and gives planners something to talk about and reference. Virtual engagements, while seemingly less impactful, can and will keep you relevant especially because many of the events that perhaps you would have spoken at in-person have now moved online.

The bottom line is this: virtual events may not be as glamorous or have a big draw, but they do offer the ability to keep up regular speaking and create an opportunity for continued exposure. So, even though they pay pennies or sometimes nothing at all, bite your tongue before you blurt out a sharp NO. Take the opportunity to do something lightweight where you can try out some new material, or venture into a business sector that you haven’t tried before. In the world of speaking, there’s always something new to learn, even if it’s virtual. So, keep an open mind and take what you can get to stay sharp, relevant and consistent.

Have a look at my recent session on how Gen Y and Gen Z are reshaping travel and work with the Oregon BTA from the comforts of my home office ?

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My New Podcast for Curious Marketers

My New Podcast for Curious Marketers

I am super amped up this week because yesterday, I launched my very first audio show, The Marketing Starter Podcast, with the goal of sharing some tangible tips and career hacks with marketers around the marketing world. 

I actually started recording back in March with the idea of getting a majority of the first season produced before the show even aired – I read that on launch day that one should have three episodes ready to go for new listeners (one of the many tips I gleaned from pro podcasters).

So this week, that is what you will find… The first three episodes of Season One, featuring Beth Carr, Founder of Fortified Branding, social media king, Scott Eddy, and Rebecca Biestman, CMO at Reputation. All available wherever you get your podcasts, at themarketingstarter.buzzsprout.com, and of course, on my website.

From there, I will be publishing two new episodes each month with the hopes of expanding to once a week as time allows – but you know how it goes when you’re trying to balance daytime tasks with moonlighting content, while also moving across the country. It’s a lot! 

I did want to use this post to share my inspiration for the blog and the why behind it, which really stemmed from my last post where I announced that I’m wiring my very first book with the same name, The Marketing Starter. In the book I share personal stories of marketing starter struggles with anecdotes from a few close colleagues, friends, and advisors – but I wanted to go deeper and create something that could go beyond the words in my book while shamelessly plugging it. 

And that’s where the podcast was born. I wanted to find like-minded marketers and business professionals who can expand on the topics that I share in my book with their own personal stories. I wanted to hone in on the expertise of these guests and align their starter journeys to the tips that I shared in my book and really dig into the nuance of wearing an entrepreneurial hat while being a marketer.

So far, I have been blown away by the starter stories that my guests have shared, and I hope that you will be too. It’s so fulfilling and inspirational to actually sit down with these folks for an hour (don’t worry the episodes are only about 30 minutes) and just have real conversations about what makes them tick and what has led to their success. It’s something I have missed deeply since this pandemic sheltering has taken over all our lives.

I miss those coffee meetups and networking events that used to fuel my personal inspiration and help me balze my trails. I’m sure all of that will be back soon, but in the meantime these podcast interviews are filling the void, but also giving me great content to share with you.

I hope that you give the show a listen and subscribe, like, share, comment, blah blah blah. And of course, stay tuned for the book release later this year.


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